PREGAME: Nate Robertson makes his return to the starting rotation, and it’s really hard to know what to expect. Do you draw on his 3-4 years as a slightly below average pitcher who will give you 6 innings, or do you draw in his last 2 years which have been ripe with injuries and ineffectiveness? He battled a hip problem which he never mentioned last year, and this year he had stuff in his elbow. His most recent history, be it at the AAA level is a rehab start where he fanned 9 in 6.2 innings on only 68 pitches.
He’ll go up against David Price. Price has nice strike out numbers (74 in 85 innings) but he has been vulnerable to the walk with 41 issued this year. He also has given up 13 long balls, but none in his last 3 starts.
This is a Fox “National” game meaning many of you get blacked out, but not as many as usual. Beyond Michigan and Florida it looks like Boston, Dallas, Minnesota, and the Dakotas will get this 4 pm tile.
POSTGAME: I’ve been a big believer in the theory that the Tigers pitching has improved this year because of the efforts to improve the defense. However, if someone had only watched the last 2 games I’d have a hard time convincing them. In Friday night’s game the defense had 3 misplays. In today’s game the defense had 4 misplays. That the pitching has held the Rays to 5 total runs is pretty remarkable.
Adam Everett was charged with 2 errors, but it looked like one should have gone to Polanco. Gerald Laird had a passed ball leading to a run. Miguel Cabrera battled the wind (which was screaming) and lost on a foul pop-up.
Robertson pitched well. He was limited to 4 innings because a) he had only thrown a max of 68 pitches in his rehab assignment b)the max came in his start Tuesday meaning he was following up on his longest outing on 3 days rest c) his innings kept getting extended and he should have made it through another inning.
- The offense did remarkably little. Only 2 of their hits even left the infield.
- I didn’t mind the Laird bunt, Longoria was playing way back. Bunting is part of Laird’s game. It was a good gamble.
- I actually would have liked to have seen Granderson try to bunt because Pena was playing him well behind the base and he might have had himself a hit and if he didn’t it should have scored a run – it didn’t even need to be a suicide squeeze.
- Granderson ended up fanning on the only real threat. But he made a bid at redemption in the 8th that was about 3 feet short of being a game tying homer.
- Ordonez had 2 hits and drove in the only run.
- The 8th inning was a nice little rally and the team made it interesting. The 9th inning was a buzz kill.
- Zach Miner did very well in relief of Robertson and he ate up 3 innings.
- I would love for the Tigers to display scoring decisions on the scoreboard. They never indicated wild pitch or passed ball on Laird. They never indicated if the 9th inning play was E4 or E6. There was no indication of what runs were earned.